Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
There are certain people in this world to which respect is not just an idea mooted, it is given whole-heartedly and without hesitation. Whilst every person you bump into, rub along alongside or have the chance to listen to should be valued, for at least it takes the time for them to open their mouth and their opinions tumble out like a sack of sick cats all pus eyed and fleshed out fur, or in the case of The Huyton Minstrel, ringing velvet truth from a life of keen observation and seeing the misery heaped upon certain members of society in the chase for social injustice, respect is due to people and artists such as the man behind the minstrel stare; Carl Allan.
Returning to the Park for the second consecutive year, The Huyton Minstrel took the afternoon audience on a different journey, one that sat with wonderful book end precision to Billy Kelly’s set just before, the compliment of two men to whom the local area, its people and its mysterious charm is self evident; whereas Mr. Kelly’s love letter By The Time I Get To Bootle has the hope and the sense of the returning hero seeing old memories tied down with a sense of desire, The Huyton Minstrel’s stance is more of a man seeped, drenched in the rain of bitter consequences, that the town has been severely let down by consecutive governments and that the faith of the people, if not for events such as The Party in the Park, could be fraying at the seams.
Brutal in Bootle is a tremendous song, world weary but still angry, a rallying call wrapped up in rhyme and one that justified opening the set on a day of fun and family musical entertainment.
With songs such as Sweet Liverpool, Dog Hairs and Electric Meter all giving the crowd the want of rebellion, of remembering exactly why days like Party in the Park are needed, to be better that government ever expects towns such as Bootle to be, that the message is one of don’t you dare forget us anymore, we have come back from everything you have thrown at us.
Brutal in Bootle, not when the master of torturing authority can find a way to kick their shins and raise the spirits of a crowd who hung on his every word. Once more the Minstrel leaves the stage to great applause and leaves the masters concerned; a genuinely superb man of words given his all to the right cause.
Ian D. Hall